The release of Vishwaroopam, the
latest film from Kamal Haasan was mired in controversies. (Feb
2013). Haasan decided to arrange a pre-screening for some groups,
despite the film being cleared by the censors. These Muslim groups
raised lots of objections and demanded for the ban on the film. As
matters unfolded, these groups agreed for the release of the film
after some cuts in the film, which the renowned actor-producer did
and film went on to get very good response on the box office.
The demand for ban was totally out of place and unwarranted. The
cutting of some scenes and the background recitation of Quran,
before and after the acts of terror, was done by the producer.
.Film all through creates the feel that Quran is the source of
inspiration for violence. Though Haasan went on to say that the
film is a tribute to Indian Muslims, as such the film falls in the
trap of the Islamophobia created by America, American media and
media here at home.
Briefly, in the film the hero helps the US
troops against Taliban forces and helps in the Americans in
preventing the blast by Muslim group. An analysis of script of the
film can be summed up by stating that the hero of the film, a
Muslim working with RAW; is a very conscientious person out to
save the World from the terror created by Muslim groups.
writers have summed it up by saying that the film tries to portray
‘one good Muslims and all other bad Muslims’. It leaves an
impression that the terrorist Muslim groups are creating problem
all over and US is the savior, its agencies trying to protect US
and the World from these dastardly acts. Film also roughly goes on
to portray that Muslim children are given the arms training right
from childhood, and Quran is their training manual for these acts
While one knows the impeccable secular credentials of both the
lead actors of the film, Kamal Haasan and Rahul Bose; still the
film is based on the script which is very superficial in its
attempt with tackling the problem of terrorism. It’s not that it
is the first film trying to grapple with the phenomenon of terror.
There had been earlier attempts to deal with the theme, some of
them doing a commendable job to go beyond the obvious in unraveling the deeper causes of terror then restricting to the
understanding that terrorism is to Islam itself.
Films like New
York, My Name is Khan, Tere bin Laden Aamir and others did a good
job as the script writers tried to break the shackles of the US
propaganda and the ‘constructed social common sense’ that ‘All
Terrorists are Muslims’. This film takes this formulation as the
basic dictum adds to that the imagery that the terrorists keep
carrying Koran, keep offering Namaz, and keep shouting Allah Ho
Akbar while indulging in the acts of brutality.
How come such a serious film maker like Kamal Haasan falls in to
the trap of the US inspired thesis which links terrorism with the
teaching of Islam? Haasan claims to have 300 evidences for his
script. Going by the story line of the film it seems that his
sources seem to be lacking deeper scholarship. One guesses that
what is paraded as evidence is mostly the propaganda of dominant
global power, America.
Look at the statement made in all
seriousness that Americans don’t kill women and children! Will the
script writer be able to defend it after going through the list of
victims of US aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq to give the
The film while caricaturing Mullah Umar, as Omar in the film, or
the nature of whole Taliban gang, gives the impression that all
this is due to what Koran teaches. Here the film gives the
impression, the script goes out to elaborate that the hero stands
as an exception to all the bad Muslims out to destroy the World.
One can say the story line of the film is the passive acceptance
of the dominant World view. Karl Marx remarked that the dominant
ideas are the ideas of the ruling classes. One can modify it to
state that the dominant groups-powers can and do manipulate the
social thinking and hide the truth. They project the falsehoods,
which the large sections of society go on to accept.
was articulated by Noam Chomsky, the US human rights activists, in
his classical formulation of ‘manufacturing consent’. The
extensive study undertaken by Chomsky into the policies of US
Empire showed its machinations to create the opinion in its favor
while attacking other countries for its narrow political goals.
It’s not that there are no dissenting scholars and serious
researched material on the subject. There is enough in the arena
of serious scholarship and some dedicated websites, which show the
One can very well mention the two profound works of
scholarship on the subject, Mahmud Mamdani’s ‘Good Muslim Bad
Muslim’ and Tariq Ali’s ‘Clash of Fundamentalisms’, which show the
deeper connection of the current terror groups, Bin Laden and Al
Qaeda outfits themselves being the product of the US attempt to
dominate West Asia for controlling oil wealth.
The US imperialists
worked with the thesis that oil is too important a commodity to be
left to Arabs for control. The deeper peep into the current
history of West Asia will clearly show the role of CIA in
promoting the Madrassas, which picked up Salafi version of Islam
to indoctrinate the generation of Muslim youth to undertake acts
The whole sequence of Mujahideen, Taliban and Al Qaeda
had been the outcome of that. All this, was richly funded by the
United States to fight against the Russians; occupying
Afghanistan. Apparently later Al Qaeda turned its guns against
Western powers and today is playing the Frankenstein’s monster.
The whole formulation of ‘Islamic-terrorism’ was the creation of
US media post 9/11 2001, linking Islam-Muslims with terrorism.
Here one is not referring to the conspiracy theories, which are
doing rounds through various films and social media.
It’s a tragedy of times that despite the large presence of social
media and serious scholarship on contemporary history of West
Asia, the popular conceptions are those dictated by the US media,
and Kamal Haasan’s script neatly falls into the superficial trap
laid by the global ‘social common sense’.
How come the film
mentions the involvement of Al Qaeda type groups into the acts of
terror in Malegaon and other cities in India, while totally
forgetting Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Swami Assemanand and their
ilk who are currently in jails accused of being involved in the
series of blasts in different places in India! Why film makers and
others remain confined to the superficial level of analysis, which
in turn worsens the popular perceptions?
Surely, deepening of
these perceptions does suit the interests of the Imperialist
powers and also the communal forces. This pattern of projection of
terrorism leads one to conclude that the power of ideas propagated
by America, the other dominant social groups with their prowess to
influence and shape the opinions emerging from mainstream media
and films like Vishwaroopam, is immense.
Films like Vishwaroopam
have their own right to be screened without any cuts but are
disgusting for the poverty of their research and regressive
values, which in turn strengthens the Islamophobia, being
perpetuated all round, and is serving the Western powers to
dominate the oil zone primarily and also other areas. It strongly
helps the communal thinking also.